July 10, 2018
Say Hello to Our New Executive Director
Seasoned nonprofit leader Pietro R. Ferrari named Executive Director of Friends of the Children–Portland
Ferrari brings more than 20 years of youth, family and community development and nonprofit management experience to the chapter
Portland – Friends of the Children, a national nonprofit that pairs children facing the highest risks with a salaried, professional mentor—called a Friend—for 12 ½ years, announced today that seasoned community and nonprofit leader, Pietro R. Ferrari, has been selected as the new Executive Director of Friends of the Children-Portland.
Born and raised in Bolivia, Ferrari came to Portland to attend Lewis & Clark College in 1987 and has lived here ever since. As a community leader, Ferrari has worked his way from nonprofit program management to executive leadership roles, including serving as executive director of both Hacienda Community Development Corp., and Catholic Charities of Oregon. Experienced in building and sustaining community-driven strategies for underserved youth and families, Ferrari is passionate about empowering generational change.
“I’m honored to work in service to Portland-area youth as they work to achieve their goals and dreams,” says Ferrari. “I believe that transformational change is not only possible, but an imperative as we support our youth to build the skills necessary to succeed in the 21st century. I am excited to be part of a movement that is rapidly expanding and transforming the lives of the highest priority youth in our community.”
The Portland chapter, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, serves over 500 youth and employs 89 staff, 60 of whom are full-time Friends. Friends of the Children started in Portland in 1993 and is now in 15 locations across the country and in the U.K. Evaluations on youth who complete the program show that:
- 83% graduate from high school
- 93% avoid the juvenile justice system
- 98% avoid early parenting
“Building on 25 years of successful, outcomes-based work in Portland, I’m committed to deepening Friends of the Children’s relationships with community leaders, philanthropists and corporate leaders to sustain, diversify and grow our impact in Portland and beyond,” says Ferrari.
Ferrari will be responsible for implementing Friends of the Children-Portland’s comprehensive strategic plan, which includes strengthening the program to better prepare youth for college/career, growing the number of youth served in Portland and SW Washington, and increasing partnerships that benefit youth, staff and the long-term financial sustainability of the chapter.
“Pietro’s background and enduring passion align with our commitment to generational change,” says Andy Miller, Chair of the Portland Board of Directors. “I look forward to supporting Pietro and our entire Friends of the Children team as we strengthen our work on behalf of the next generation of leaders for our community.”
“I have every confidence that Pietro is the right person to lead Friends of the Children-Portland into the future and am so excited to see the organization grow and thrive under his leadership,” says Jenna Mooney, Board Vice Chair. “He joins an amazing team of mentors and staff who have committed to our youth for 12 ½ years – no matter what. Our youth, our team, and our board are looking forward to working alongside Pietro to build a strong foundation for our next 25 years.”
Ferrari attended Lewis & Clark College in Portland, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs, a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Oregon in Eugene, and a Certificate of Excellence in Community Development from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Ferrari lives in Portland with his family and enjoys outdoor recreation, travel, music, global cuisine, arts and literature.
Erinn Kelley-Siel, Interim Chief Operating Officer